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Pepsi Settles “All Natural” Litigation Regarding Naked Juice

August 2, 2013

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PepsiCo has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit brought in 2011 related to labeling of certain Naked Juice products as “all natural.”  The litigation alleged that the use of certain synthetic ingredients, including a synthetic fiber, were false and misleading in light of the “all natural” claim.  The ingredients at issue included zinc oxide, ascorbic acid, and calcium pantothenate.  PepsiCo agreed to pay $9 million to settle the lawsuit, and also to remove the “all natural” claim from its Naked Juice products.  Plaintiffs also claim that Naked Juice contains GMO ingredients despite labeling indicating the products are GMO-free, an allegation that PepsiCo denies.  Nonetheless, PepsiCo has announced an intention to seek third party certification of the non-GMO status of Naked Juice product bearing the GMO-free claim.

This suit against PepsiCo is one of dozens of pending lawsuits against food companies for using “natural” or “all natural” claims where

French Court Overturns Ban on GMO Maize

August 1, 2013

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A French administrative court today overturned a 2012 ban on Monsanto’s MON810 genetically modified maize.  The Conseil d’Etat stated that such a ban could only be imposed in the case of an emergency or a serious health or environmental risk.  In a preliminary hearing earlier this month, the Conseil d’Etat had already found that there was no scientific justification for the ban.

In response to the ruling, French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll reiterated that France “is not in favour of GM, especially MON810 which is a corn that is resistant to herbicides.”

Settlement Reached in “All-Natural” Class Action Regarding Food Products Containing GMO Ingredients

June 27, 2013

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In what is being billed as the first settlement of a class action suit alleging that the use of an “all natural” claim is deceptive where certain ingredients contain GMOs, Barbara’s Bakery Inc. has agreed to pay $4 million to the plaintiff class. The case, brought in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, centers around Barbara Bakery’s cereal and snack products manufactured with GMO ingredients. Under the settlement, class members may be eligible for refunds of up to $100 each, and Barbara’s Bakery agreed not to use marketing claims such as “all natural” in the future where products contain GMO ingredients. Barbara’s Bakery also agreed to eliminate GMO ingredients from many of the products at issue in the lawsuit, which elimination would need to be verified by the third party Non-GMO Project.

Litigation over use of marketing claims such as “all natural” or “100% natural” has increased significantly

USDA Approves First GMO-Free Label

June 27, 2013

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For the first time ever, the USDA has approved a GMO-free claim for use on meat and liquid egg products. As recently reported by the New York Times, USDA has granted a request advanced by several meat producers to allow products to be labeled as “[coming] from animals that never ate feed containing genetically engineered ingredients like corn, soy and alfalfa.” The producer must be able to support the claim through a third-party certification. As explained by USDA spokeswoman Cathy Cochran, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service “allows companies to demonstrate on their labels that they meet a third-party certifying organization’s standards, provided that the third-party organization and the company can show that the claims are truthful, accurate and not misleading.” In this case, the third-party certifying organization is the Non-GMO Project, which itself actively supported the USDA approval.  USDA has clarified that the approval did not

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